Orgill chooses Kilgore for new facility

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The decision is in: Kilgore’s Orgill operation has landed the company’s next distribution center expansion.

That means more than 80 new jobs here alongside an anticipated $15 million in new construction and property improvement at Kilgore’s Synergy Park plus $14 million of new investment in personal property for the Tennessee-based company, the world’s largest independent hardlines distributor.

According to Kilgore’s Vic Price, vice president of distribution for Orgill’s southwest region, “The major reasons Orgill chose Kilgore were the economic climate, the ease of doing business in the region, support from Kilgore and Gregg County and our satisfaction with local staff,” he said Wednesday. “The people were a major difference.”

Numerous taxing entities helped pave the way for the expansion here with both Kilgore’s site and Orgill’s Georgia operation vying for the development. It’s expected to create 83 new jobs here on top of the current roster of more than 200 fulltime positions.

According to a Wednesday release from Kilgore Economic Development Corporation, the incentive package for the agreement includes a land donation as well as a generator and switching gear for uninterrupted power to the coming facility in addition to a new driveway. Alongside tax abatements from the City of Kilgore, Kilgore College and Gregg County, the company will receive $557,000 in cash incentives to be paid through the next 10 years.

“To have a company like Orgill,” KEDC Executive Director Amanda Nobles said, “with their industry reputation, with the experience we have had with them operating in Kilgore and the great partner that they are for our community, it is a wonderful project.

“To have a company that already has over 500,000 square feet in Kilgore that is expanding that to close to 900,000 square feet is, for a town the size of Kilgore, a remarkable project.”

The new economic development performance agreement between Orgill and KEDC includes local investment estimated at $29 million. The various taxing industries helped woo the expansion here between the two proposed sites with a 100 percent 10-year tax abatement on $14 million of the project.

Meanwhile, as of this year the city, county and college will begin receiving tax revenues on Orgill’s original investment here.

“I think it cements our relationship with the city and the community in that we’ve been here for 10 years, we have what I consider to be an excellent relationship, we’ve proved out the area is what it is from a business standpoint,” Price said. The expansion sends a clear message to local customers: “We’re going to be here, we’re going to be able to support you and the community as well.

“It just kind of solidifies that commitment by expanding the building and adding more people. We’ll be bringing in more jobs. Orgill tries to be a good steward, to have good community involved. We want to be a good corporate citizen of the community. The growth and expansion of this building should give us more opportunities to do that.”

Orgill is a significant community partner, Nobles said, not only through the EDC but with the city, chamber of commerce and elsewhere in supporting the Kilgore Boys & Girls Club, the Fuller Center for Housing (formerly Habitat for Humanity) and other nonprofits and civic groups.

The coming expansion will add an estimated 83 jobs to an existing base of 224 fulltime positions.

“In terms of investment and job creation they’ve far exceeded the terms of their original agreement,” said Jana Russell, KEDC marketing and development director. She and Nobles were ready to ring KEDC’s celebratory bell in its Synergy Park offices Wednesday to celebrate Orgill’s announcement: “Synergy Park is one of Kilgore’s main selling points. Anytime there is new construction, anytime a site or city has been chosen as part of a competitive process, it just enhances that advantage.”

Headquartered in Memphis, Orgill projects worldwide sales of $2.5 billion this year.

In Kilgore, “What we’re hoping to do is have the contractor mobilized on the site by the first of October,” Price said. “They’re hoping to have the building completed and allowing us to use it on June 1, 2019.

“It’s pretty aggressive, but based on how they did on the actual building, I think it’s going to be a good timeline.”

The company is a quality employer here, KEDC Board President Bryan Johnston said in a midday press release Aug. 22.

“They have made a significant impact in our community,” he added, “and we are grateful to be a part of the company’s growth.”

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